Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  28    Verses:  306-313

306. Our Savior, having visited the villages in Judea
for ten months after his fast, now resolved to manifest
Himself to the world; not that He had spoken ex
clusively only in private of the truths of eternal life; but
He had not until then proclaimed Himself publicly as
the Messias and the Master of life, whereas now the
time for doing so, according to the decrees of infinite
Wisdom, had arrived. Hence the Lord sought again
the presence of his Precursor John, in order that through
his testimony (since such was his office in the world),
the light might be manifested in the darkness (John
1, 5). By divine revelation the Baptist knew of this
visit of the Savior and of his intention to make Him
self known to the world as the Redeemer and the true
Son of the eternal Father. When, therefore, saint John
saw Him coming he exclaimed in wonderful joy of his
spirit to his disciples: "Ecce Agnus Dei," "Behold the
Lamb of God." This testimony referred not only to
his previous identical words in regard to Christ, but
also presupposed the more particular instructions which
he had given to his close disciples. It was as if he said
to them : Here now you see the Lamb of God, of whom
I have spoken to you, who has come to redeem the world
and open the way to heaven. This was the last time that
the Baptist saw the Savior in the natural way ; but Christ
appeared to him just before his death, as I shall relate
farther on.
307. The two first disciples of Christ who were with
saint John at the time, heard this testimony and, moved
by it and by the light and grace interiorly imparted to
them, they began to follow the Lord. Benignantly turn
ing to them the Lord asked them, what they sought (John
1, 38). They answered that they wished to know
where He lived; and the Lord bade them follow. They
were with Him that day as saint John tells us. One of
them, he says, was saint Andrew, the brother of saint
Peter; the other he does not mention. But I was made
to understand that it was saint John himself, who, in
his great modesty, did not wish to give his name. These
two, then, saint John and saint Andrew, were the first
fruits of the Baptist s apostolate, being the first of the
disciples of the Baptist who followed the Savior in con
sequence of his express testimony and without being
outwardly called by the Lord. Saint Andrew imme
diately sought his brother Simon and took him along,
saying that he had found the Messias, who called Him
self Christ. Looking upon Peter He said: "Thou art
Simon the son of Jona : thou shalt be called Cephas,
which is interpreted Peter." All this happened within
the confines of Judea and on the next day the Lord
entered Galilee. He found saint Philip and
called him to his following. Philip immediately sought
Nathanael and brought him to Jesus, telling him what
had happened and that they had found the Messias in
the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael, having
spoken with the Lord as recorded in the first chapter of
saint John s Gospel, joined as the fifth of the disciples
of Christ.
308. With these five disciples, the first stones in the
foundation of the new Church, Christ, the Savior,
entered Galilee for the purpose of beginning his public
preaching and baptizing. In the Apostles thus called
He enkindled, from the moment of their joining the
Master, a new light and fire of divine love and showered
upon them the sweetness of his blessings (Ps. 20, 4).
It is not possible worthily to describe the labors under
gone by the divine Teacher in tfre vocation and educa
tion of these and of the other disciples, in order to found
upon them the Church. He sought them out with great
diligence and solicitude; He urged them on frequently
by the powerful and efficacious help of his grace; He
enlightened their hearts and enriched them with incom
parable gifts and blessings; He received them with ad
mirable kindness; He nourished them with the sweetest
milk of his doctrines ; He bore with them with invincible
patience; He caressed them as a most loving Father
caresses his tender and darling sons. As our nature
is base and uncouth material for the exalted and ex
quisite aspirations of the Spirit, and as they were to be
not only perfect disciples, but consummate masters of
perfection in the world and in the Church, the work
of transforming and raising them from their rough
natural state into such a heavenly and divine position
by his instructions and example, necessarily was a vast
enterprise. In the performance pf this work the Lord
has left a most exalted example of patience, meekness
and charity for all the prelates, princes and whoever
is charged with the guidance of subjects. Not less sig
nificant for us sinners are the proofs of his fatherly
kindness : for He was not satisfied with simply bear
ing with their faults and defects, their natural inclina
tions and passions: but He allowed his tender kindness
to overflow thus wonderfully toward them, in order
that we might be cheered on to trust Him and not per
mit ourselves to be dismayed amidst the countless imper
fections and weaknesses natural to our earthly exist
309. By the means already mentioned the Queen of
heaven was informed of all the wonderful doings of
our Savior in the vocation of the Apostles and dis
ciples and in his public preaching. She gave thanks to
the eternal Father for these the first disciples, acknowl
edging and admitting them in imitation of her Son as
her spiritual children, and offering them to the divine
Majesty with new songs of praise and joy. On this
occasion of the choice of the first disciples She was
favored by a neV revelation of the Most High in which
She was informed again of his holy and eternal de
cree concerning the Redemption of man and of the
manner in which it was to be executed in the preaching
of his most holy Son. He said to Her : "My Daughter
and my Dove, chosen out of thousands, it is necessary
that Thou accompany and assist my Onlybegotten and
thine in the labors which He is about to undertake in
the work of the Redemption. The time of his suffering
is come and I am about to open up the stores of wis
dom and goodness in order to enrich men by my treas
ures. Through their Redeemer and Teacher I wish to
free them from the slavery of sin and of the devil and
to pour out the abundance of my grace upon the hearts
of all the mortals who prepare themselves to know my
incarnate Son and to follow Him as their Head and
Guide upon the way of eternal salvation. I wish to
raise from the dust and enrich the poor, cast down the
proud, exalt the humble and enlighten the blind in
the darkness of death (Is. 9, 2). I wish to setup my
friends and chosen ones and make known the greatness
of my name. In the execution of this, my holy and eter
nal will, I wish that Thou my cherished and chosen
One, co-operate with my Son, that thou accompany Him,
follow and imitate Him, and I will be with Thee in
all that Thou shalt do."
310. "Supreme King of the universe," most holy
Mary answered, "from whom all creatures receive their
being and preservation, although I am but vile dust and
ashes, I will speak in thy presence according to thy
condescension (Gen. 18, 27). Accept, O most high
Lord and God, the heart of thy handmaid, which is
prepared to sacrifice itself for the accomplishment of thy
pleasure. Receive the holocaust, not only of my lips,
but of my inmost soul in obedience to the orders of thy
wisdom manifested unto thy slave. Behold me prostrate
before thy presence and supreme Majesty: fulfill in me
entirely thy will and pleasure. I desire, O almighty
God, if it is possible, to suffer and to die either with
or instead of thy and my Son. This would be the
fulfillment of all my desires and the excess of my joy,
that the sword of thy justice strike rather me, since
I am closer to guilt. He is sinless as well by nature
as also by the prerogatives of the Divinity. All crea
tures are infinitely distant from his dignity; yet it is
also true that any of the acts of thy Onlybegotten is
abundantly sufficient for the Redemption, and that He
has done much for men. If on account of this it is
possible for me to die in order to save his priceless life,
I am prepared to die. But if thy decree is unchangeable,
grant me, highest God and Father, if possible, that I
pour out my life with his. But in this also will I submit
to thy will, just as I am ready to obey Thee in follow
ing Him and in sharing his labors. Do Thou assist
me with the power of thy right hand in order that I
may hasten to imitate Him and fulfill thy pleasure and
my own longings."
311. I cannot further describe in words what I under
stood concerning the heroic and wonderful acts per
formed by our Queen and Lady on this occasion; how
fervently She desired to die and suffer on receiving
this command of the Most High, either in order to
exempt her most holy Son from death or at least to share
his Death with Him. Hence, if fervent acts of love,
even when they are directed toward things impossible,
so highly oblige God, that if they arise from a true and
upright heart, He accepts them as really effective and as
worthy of full reward : what must have been the merits
of the Mother of grace and love in thus offering her
life as a sacrifice of her love? Neither human nor
angelic intellect shall ever reach this exalted sacrament
of love. It would have been sweet to Her to suffer and
die; but it occasioned Her much more pain not to be
permitted to die with her Son, or to be alive while
She saw Him suffer and die, as I shall record later
on. Hence, one can form some estimate how closely
allied in glory Mary must be with Christ and how simi
lar her grace and sanctity was to that of her model,
Christ; for in all things She corresponded to his love
and rose to the highest point imaginable in a mere
creature. In these sentiments our Queen issued forth
from her vision, and the Most High again commanded
her angels to assist and serve Her in what She was to
do. They, as the most faithful ministers of the Lord,
obeyed, ordinarily accompanied Her in visible forms
and served Her wherever She went.
312. My daughter, all the doings of my most holy
Son prove his divine love toward men and how dif
ferent this love is from that which they have among
themselves. Mortals are ordinarily so small-minded,
niggardly, avaricious and sluggish, that they are usually
not moved to love any one unless they see some advan
tage in the objects of their love. Hence the love of
creatures is founded upon the good thought to be in
that which they love. But divine love, having its foun
tain within itself, and being capable of effecting its own
wishes, does not seek the creature because it is worthy,
but it loves creatures in order to make them worthy of
love. Therefore, no soul must despair of the divine
goodness. Yet no one must on that account have a vain
and presumptuous trust, expecting divine love to work in
it effects of grace of which he is altogether unworthy;
for in these gifts of his love the Most High follows
a course of equity most mysterious to the creature. Al
though God loves them all and wishes all to be saved,
yet in the distribution of these gifts and effects of his
love He undeniably applies a certain measure and
weight of his sanctuary, by which He dispenses them.
Now, as man cannot penetrate or comprehend this
secret, he must take care not to forfeit or lose the first
grace and first vocation; for he does not know whether
he will not lose the second by his ingratitude, and he
can be certain of not losing the second only by making
use of the first grace. The soul can know for certain
only this : that grace will not be denied if the soul does
not make itself unworthy. These workings of divine
love in the soul are accompanied by interior enlighten
ment, so that in the presence of this light, men are re
proved for their sins and convinced of their evil state
and of the danger of eternal death. But human pride
makes many of them so foolish and base of heart that
they resist this light; others are hard to move and
never fail to have some vain excuse for their negligence ;
whence they counteract the first effects of the love of
God and make themselves unfit for future graces. Now,
without the help of grace, men cannot avoid evil, nor
can they do the good, or even know it; thus many cast
themselves from abyss to abyss. For, since they coun
teract and repel grace, and thus are unworthy of fur
ther help, they inevitably draw upon themselves ruin by
falling from sin to sin.
313. Be attentive, therefore, my dearest, to the light
which has excited thy heart to the love of the Most
High; for by the enlightenment which thou hast re
ceived in the history of my life, even if thou hadst no
other light, thou art placed under such great obligations
that if thou dost not correspond with them in the holi
ness of thy life, thou shalt be more reprehensible in the
eyes of God and in mine, and in the presence of angels
and men, than all the other human-born. Let also the
conduct of the first disciples of my most holy Son, and
the promptitude with which they followed Him, serve
thee as an example. Although his forbearance and kind
instruction were a special grace, they faithfully cor
responded to it and followed the teachings of their Mas
ter. Their human nature was weak, yet they did not make
themselves incapable of receiving further blessings of
God s right hand and they set their desires toward much
higher aims than their weak strength would be able to
attain. In order to bring this faithful love in thee to
its greatest perfection, I wish that thou imitate me in
all the works which I have performed on this occasion,
and in the desire to die for my divine Son or with Him,
if it had been permitted. Prepare thy heart for what
I shall yet reveal to thee of the Death of the Lord and
of my own life in order that thou mayest in all things
do what is perfect and holy. Consider, my daughter,
that I have a complaint against the human race, of which
I have spoken to thee at other times, and which ap
plies to nearly all men: that they neglect and forget to
inform themselves of what I and my most holy Son
have done for them; that they do not weigh gratefully
the blessings of each hour, nor seek to make a proper
return. See that thou do not thus offend me, since I
have made thee a sharer in these exalted secrets and
sacraments, wherein thou findest so much light and in
struction and the practice of the highest and most ex
cellent virtues. Raise thyself above thyself, labor dili
gently in order that thou mayest receive more and more
grace, and, by corresponding with it, gather much merit
and eternal rewards.
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